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Out of My Mind About this Book!

Out of My Mind About this Book!

“We all have disabilities. What’s yours?” This is one of the most profound and truthful quotes from the amazing Out of My Mind novel by Sharon M. Draper. I loved this book so much. It made me cry with joy and also broke my heart with how cruel humans can be. I also loved how the author brought it to a close in an unexpected way. I think your students will love it just as much and also make them take the time to think about how they are treating one another, especially those that may be different from them. This is a great book to use in the classroom and I can’t recommend it enough!

Out of My Mind was first published in 2010, by the award-winning, Sharon M. Draper. It is the story of Melody, a fifth-grader who has Cerebral Palsy. Melody has always felt that she is trapped in her own mind without a door or a key because she is not able to talk and communicate all that is in her genius, photographic mind.

As Melody is “let out of her mind” with the help of an electric wheelchair, technology, and school aides, she shows everyone just how much has been trapped there for all these years. It is an inspiring story while staying true to the realities of just how cruel fifth-graders (and older ignorant people) can be when faced with someone they don’t have experience with or understanding for.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Out of My Mind for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom. it is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

Out of My Mind should be a must-read for every fifth-grader to help enhance empathy and understanding for those that are different from us. We should all be asked to face the question, “We all have disabilities. What’s yours?”



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

On the Run with Maniac Magee

On the Run with Maniac Magee

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli explores the themes of racism and homelessness in an engaging, humorous, and interesting way. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.

 

 

 

Maniac Magee was first published in 1990. Among the many awards bestowed upon the novel, it won the acclaimed Newbery Medal in 1991, has been named one of the “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children” by the NEA, and was ranked #40 of the all-time best children’s novels by the School Library Journal.

Summary of Maniac Magee:

*From the book jacket

Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a trolley accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run- and not just run away, but run. And this is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.

 

 

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Maniac Magee for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

 

Maniac Magee is a great novel to use as a scholarly tool to address racial and class issues with young students in a poignant and humorous way.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

Finding Friendship and Support in Unexpected Places with Crenshaw

Finding Friendship and Support in Unexpected Places with Crenshaw

Crenshaw is Katherine Applegate’s follow-up novel to her Newbery Award-winning, The One and Only Ivan. This is a heartwarming story of a boy who looks within himself to find friendship and support as his family faces hard times. This is a wonderful book to use for a novel study, literature circles, book clubs, or individual study in the classroom or home school.

 

 

 

Crenshaw is a beautiful, vividly written tale exploring the themes of friendship, homelessness, hope, forgiveness, and acceptance. This story is great to open students eyes to the plight of homelessness in an empathetic way that they can relate to.

Summary of Crenshaw:

*From the book jacket

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

This is a great novel to accompany themes of:

  • Homelessness
  • Friendship
  • Overcoming obstacles
  • Imaginary friends

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Crenshaw for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

You can find this novel study in my TpT store by clicking the image below.

Crenshaw is a magical tale that shows that we can all find friendship and support in the toughest times by opening our hearts.



Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

The Travels of Bud, Not Buddy

The Travels of Bud, Not Buddy

Bud, Not Buddy, written by Christopher Paul Curtis, is a wonderful book to use for a novel study or literature circle, or book groups in the classroom. Bud, Not Buddy, was published in 1999 and received the Newbery Medal for children’s literature in 2000. Author, Christopher Paul Curtis, was also recognized with the 2000 Coretta Scott King Award, an award given to outstanding African American authors.


Summary of Bud, Not Buddy*:

It’s 1936, in Flint, Michigan. Times may be hard, and ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy on the run, but Bud’s got a few things going for him:

He has his own suitcase full of special things. He’s the author of Bud Caldwell’s Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself. His momma never told him who his father was, but she left a clue; flyers advertising Herman E. Calloway and his famous band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression!!!

Bud’s got an idea that those flyers will lead him to his father. Once he decides to hit the road and find his mystery man, nothing can stop him – not hunger, not fear, not vampires, not even Herman E. Calloway himself.

*(from the book jacket)

This is a great Depression Era novel to use in the classroom to help students understand the struggles of the era, especially as an African-American youth, and to see how perseverance will overcome adversity.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Bud, Not Buddy for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

This is a great novel to accompany a study of:

  • The Depression Era
  • The foster care system during the Depression versus today
  • The role of unions in the American economy
  • Race relations and discrimination during the Depression Era.


Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.

The Wonder of Wonder!

The Wonder of Wonder!

Of all the curriculum materials I create novel units are my favorite, but creating my Wonder Novel Study to accompany the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio has by far been my all-time favorite! The encouragement of building a community and building empathy among students is so rich with this novel.

 

Summary of Wonder:
(From the Book Jacket)

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

Auggie’s struggles are written on his face. You go into the book knowing you are going to read about a kid who’s going to have a tough struggle. The surprising thing with this book is that you end up realizing that the other “normal” characters who seem to have it all on the outside, they are beautiful, rich, smart, etc, all have some type of struggle as well. This book really makes you look beyond the cover and delve deeper underneath. It is a wonderful resource to strengthen empathy and learn to not be so quick to judge a “book by its cover” so to speak. This led me to a great after the book writing activity that corresponds with Plato’s quote: “Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”


One thing I really love about the unit I was able to create was how the text lent itself to higher-order thinking questions. There are very few knowledge levels (recall) or even comprehension level questions in the comprehension packet section of the unit. The vast majority are analysis and evaluation level questions because that is just where the text leads you. The book is just so thought-provoking!

You can try a free activity that comes from the novel to check it out:

See what buyers are saying about the Wonder Novel Study by The Teaching Bank!

I loved how R.J. Palacio subtly adds the character of Daisy the dog as the only soul who does not “see” Auggie’s facial abnormalities. Through Daisy’s interactions, Ms. Palacio shows the unconditional love of animals. This prompted me to add a Reading Informational activity to the unit involving therapy dogs and animal-assisted therapy. I know teachers are looking for Common Core-aligned resources to help with Reading Informational Text skills so I added this small activity to the unit. You can download this activity for free by clicking on the image below:

Therapy Dog

As you can tell I loved this book. It is one of the best books I have read and I think it would serve well in any 4-6th-grade classroom. However, I do have one minor complaint. In the book, Auggie also deals with a hearing loss and there is a chapter that describes his experience in getting fitted for a hearing aid for the first time. I also live with hearing loss and have worn hearing aids for several years. In some ways, Ms. Palacio was spot on describing Auggie’s feelings about wearing hearing aids around his friends and how he may be perceived. However, Ms. Palacio was very off the mark when she described the experience of getting hearing aids and how they work. This is very understandable as I am sure most people do think that wearing hearing aids is very much like wearing glasses, which is how Ms.Palacio describes the experience. In reality, it is nothing like that. After reading this chapter in the book I felt so strongly that I felt the need to add my own supplement to the unit explaining what it is really like to wear hearing aids and have a hearing loss in our modern world. I hope this supplement is helpful to your students. This resource is included in the Wonder Novel Study and is also offered as a stand-alone item here:

As I mentioned I loved this book! 🙂 It hits on so many issues in the modern classroom and appeals to such a wide audience. It really is a must-read and a wonderful addition to any classroom instruction.

Boy with a hat Wonder Novel Study Compatible with Google Drive


Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

Click here or the image below to join my Facebook group, Book Talk with The Teaching Bank!

Click to join Book Talk with The Teaching Bank


*The Teaching Bank participates in the Amazon Associate Program and earns a fee from qualifying purchases made on the Amazon.com site.